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The Independent Critic

Mandy May Cheetham, Paul Nicholls, Travis H. Stone
Kelly-Marie Murtha

 "Smart Work" a Solid Debut From Kelly-Marie Murtha 

One night can change a lifetime...

Indeed, this is the central idea behind veteran actress turned filmmaker Kelly-Marie Murtha's directorial debut Smart Work, an involving and thought-provoking short film about a young man named Cliff (Travis H. Stone) who is caught in handed down and spiraling downward cycle that leads him to make a choice one night that causes his pregnant wife (Mandy May Cheetham) to question him and the lessons he plans to hand down to his child. Reaching an epiphany of sorts, Cliff decides to choose again and boldly heads back to the person (Paul Nicholls) that he has wronged.

Based upon a story written by Murtha's grandfather, Canadian writer Thomas Murtha, Smart Work is both a gritty and suspenseful story and one that tugs at the heart strings quite believably. Shot in Toronto, Smart Work kicks off with a level of natural grittiness that you might expect to come from an indie New York-based filmmaker courtesy of Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi's wonderfully layered lensing that transcends what one would usually expect from a microcinema project.

The film also features a top notch cast including Travis H. Stone, who nicely handles the task of portraying a character who is both gritty and contemplative, and Mandy May Cheetham, whose relatively brief appearance as Cliff's pregnant wife gives the film it's emotional resonance. Paul Nicholls also is solid as William Burns, whose appearance on screen is even more brief but absolutely essential and Nicholls sells his journey rather convincingly.

Smart Work had its Canadian debut earlier in the fall of 2013 and is now on the film festival circuit where its strongest prospects likely exist among the indie/underground film fests and, perhaps, those fests that embrace values-based cinema realistically portrayed.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic